After we visited the National Botanic Garden for the holidays last year (and loved it), we heard that there are musical performances on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-8pm, so we made sure to visit when we could check that out this year. An awesome choral group was performing holiday carols when we visited, including a very fun and animated rendition of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”
After listening for a little bit, we walked around and checked out the decorations. The front atrium of the garden is decked out with poinsettias every year, many of which surround the gorgeous hand-carved wooden replicas of buildings around DC that are only displayed during the holidays (these are my favorite part of visiting).
And in the room to the left of the front atrium they set up model train tracks in a fantasy land built and carved from all natural materials. I found out this year that they change the theme every year, as last year the theme was the seven wonders of the world, and this year the theme seemed to be structures inspired by animals (from scorpions to fairies). I was happy to see that they kept the beautiful castle and hot air balloons that towered over the rest of the structures and train tracks, though.
The room also contains model trains surrounding replicas of famous homes like the Van Buren mansion.
The holiday decorations will be on display until January 2, 2012. If you just want to see the holiday decorations, I recommend visiting on an evening other than Tuesday or Thursday as you’ll have an easier time getting around without disturbing the performance. If you’re interested in seeing a free performance, check the National Botanic Garden’s schedule of events for who is playing each night.